How Media Differs in Coverage of Trump Impeachment Trial


On MSNBC, whose prime-time hosts are consistently critical of Mr. Trump, the host Chris Hayes on Wednesday praised the prosecutors’ use of “truly jaw-dropping video.” He said it had “masterfully” connected “Trump’s words and actions to the violence that shattered the seat of American democracy.”

As House managers presented their case on Thursday afternoon, David Schoen, one of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, appeared on the Fox News show “America Reports With John Roberts & Sandra Smith.” He criticized the presentation as “an entertainment package” and labeled it “offensive.”

Chris Wallace, the “Fox News Sunday” anchor, said as a guest on Martha MacCallum’s Fox News show on Wednesday that the House managers had done “a very effective job.” The next day on Ms. MacCallum’s show, Hogan Gidley, a former deputy White House press secretary, called efforts by Democrats to equate a refusal to convict Mr. Trump with support for the Jan. 6 rioters “a dirty political trick and dangerous for the future of our country.”

Several guests on Fox News blasted Democrats’ efforts to win a conviction. “Most Republicans found the presentation by the House managers offensive and absurd,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on Mr. Hannity’s show on Wednesday.

In his Thursday night monologue, the Fox News host Tucker Carlson said he could not fathom why Democrats were “so angry,” given that President Biden had won the election. “They are crazy-person mad, florid-faced, irrational, yelling and making threats,” he said. “It is bizarre.”

There was one point of agreement across the cable divide: the hosts’ take on the lawyers for the defense. Mr. Hannity described the legal team’s performance on Tuesday as “a little meandering” before his fellow Fox News host Laura Ingraham called it “terrible.”

On Wednesday, Ms. Maddow, of MSNBC, said a lawyer for Mr. Trump, Bruce L. Castor Jr., had delivered a “sort of Bart Simpson meets Foghorn Leghorn routine.” On Thursday, she apologized for her reference to cartoon characters, saying it was “uncalled-for,” only to reiterate that his Senate floor performance was “disastrous.”

A guest on Newsmax, Brian Darling, a former counsel to Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, presented a report card on the opening statements by both sides. The House managers received a C-plus. The Trump team got a D.


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